Armed Services Republicans: Obama's 'gibberish' Gitmo plan will get hearings

Armed Services Republicans: Obama's 'gibberish' Gitmo plan will get hearings
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A trio of Republican heavyweights on the Senate Armed Services Committee promised Wednesday to holding hearings on President Obama's plan to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility but said they don’t expect the “gibberish” plan to advance beyond that.

“I want to take this proposal and have a hearing about it because it’s gibberish, and I want everybody who has a better idea to come forward,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: Threatening emails raise election concerns | Quibi folds after raising nearly B | Trump signs law making it a crime to hack voting systems Trump signs legislation making hacking voting systems a federal crime Jaime Harrison on Lindsey Graham postponing debate: 'He's on the verge of getting that one-way ticket back home' MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters. “It’s now time for those in the Congress who believe we should close Guantánamo Bay to come up with a plan. To my Democratic colleagues, you got a better idea than President Obama, put it forward. To Republican colleagues, if you have a better idea, put it forward.”

Graham was joined by Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Senate makes SCOTUS nominee Barrett a proxy for divisive 2020 Senate Republicans scramble to put Trump at arm's length GOP anxiety grows over Trump political roller coaster MORE (R-N.H.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate is leaning to the Democrats, big time, with a wave Budowsky: Trump's COVID-19 death toll dominates election Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (R-Ariz.), the committee's chairman, to reiterate their opposition to the plan Obama put forward Tuesday.


Under Obama’s plan, detainees deemed too dangerous to transfer abroad would be brought to a new facility in the United States. The proposal does not name a specific location but says the administration has examined 13 sites.

McCain and Graham, who have previously said they support closing the facility, on Wednesday described Obama's proposal as a political document instead of a plan because it lacks specifics 

“We will have hearings in the Senate Armed Services Committee, and we will examine this set of conclusions and set of statements, and we will be examining the situation as it exists, but right now we really have nothing but an eight-page document of facts rather than a specific plan,” McCain said. “And, therefore, I would suggest that the prospects of any real action by the Congress of the United States is exceedingly dim.”

McCain also said he would support a House-initiated lawsuit in the event Obama uses executive action if Congress doesn’t support his plan.

“One of our greatest concerns right now is the president’s proclivity to act by executive order whether its constitutional or not,” McCain said. “We would absolutely join” the House, he added.


The administration declined to say Tuesday whether Obama would act unilaterally to close the prison. 

Graham on Wednesday also slammed the president for failing to respond to a plan he proposed six years ago. Graham's proposal would have housed detainees in the United States in turn for prosecuting alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a military commission instead of a civilian court. Graham's proposal specified the stateside detentions would be indefinite under the law of war with “adequate due process,” the South Carolina Republican said.

“The president could never pull the trigger because the left doesn’t like the idea of indefinite detention, and he had a hard time rallying his people around a statute that clearly put forward a plan that recognized we’re a nation at war and an enemy combatant is not a common criminal,” Graham said.

Ayotte’s main concern, she said, is that Obama's proposal does not address where potential future detainees would be held or interrogated. 

Regarding future detainees, the Obama proposal says the administration will approach new captures on a "case-by-case basis" with a "range of options." 


A case-by-case basis is not a policy, Ayotte argued.

“There’s absolutely no plan, no detention policy,” she said, “and this is dangerous for our nation.”